The Corporate Women
Where Women are reshaping the corporate world

Madhu Trehan: Pioneering Journalism and Digital Media Visionary


Madhu Purie Trehan, a prominent Indian journalist born in the 1940s, has left an indelible mark on the Indian media scene. Co-founding the iconic India Today magazine and playing a pivotal role in establishing Newslaundry, Trehan’s journey epitomises her steadfast commitment to journalistic excellence and innovation. Her estimated net worth stands at $4.8 billion.

Educational Background and Early Career

Born in 1946 in Lahore, British India, Madhu Trehan’s educational journey paved the way for her future in journalism. Graduating from Welham Girls’ School in Dehradun in 1962, she pursued journalistic photography at London’s Harrow Technical College & School of Arts in 1968. Further honing her skills, Trehan earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, New York, in 1972. Her early career included roles at the United Nations press department and as an editor for the weekly newspaper, India Abroad.

India Today and Newstrack

Returning to India in 1975, Trehan, alongside her father, V.V. Purie, co-founded India Today, a groundbreaking news magazine. Her pioneering contributions continued in 1986 when she produced and anchored Newstrack, India’s inaugural video news magazine. This venture solidified her reputation as a trailblazer in investigative journalism, setting new standards for television news reporting in the country.

Yakub Memon Interview and “Tehelka as Metaphor”

In August 1994, Madhu Trehan conducted a rare and exclusive interview with Yakub Memon, a key figure in the 1993 Bombay bombings. This interview underscored her fearless approach to journalism, emphasising her commitment to presenting diverse perspectives and fostering dialogue.

In 2009, Trehan ventured into authorship with her book “Tehelka as Metaphor: Prism Me a Lie, Tell Me a Truth.” The book delves into the 2001 Operation West End exposé and its aftermath, offering insights into the complex world of investigative journalism.

Digital Ventures: Wah India and Newslaundry

Madhu Trehan’s foray into the digital realm began with the launch of Wah India in 2000, a website and print magazine. In 2012, she, along with three colleagues, founded Newslaundry, a pioneering crowd-sourced media critique website. Newslaundry reflects Trehan’s dedication to fostering media accountability and transparency in the digital age.

Delhi High Court Controversy

Madhu Trehan’s career has not been without controversies, notably in 2001 when the Delhi High Court ruled her and four other journalists on Wah India guilty of contempt of court for an article rating the High Court’s Judges. Despite legal challenges, Trehan’s commitment to journalistic integrity remained unwavering.

Personal Life and Legacy

Madhu Trehan’s personal life is intertwined with notable personalities in India’s media landscape. Married to renowned heart surgeon Naresh Trehan, she is the sister of Aroon Purie, the founder-publisher, and editor-in-chief of India Today. Bollywood actress Koel Purie is her niece.


Madhu Trehan’s journey from the early days of print journalism to the digital age reflects her adaptability and pioneering spirit. As a journalist, author, and co-founder of Newslaundry, she continues to inspire a new generation of media professionals, leaving an enduring legacy in the ever-evolving landscape of Indian journalism.



Leave a comment